Recovery is a litmus test for finding out who your true friends are and who is truly genuine in those friendships. Thinking back on the times you had been using, you realize you actually were living in an interesting dichotomy: you may have been amongst many friends who shared a common bond with drugs of all stripes, yet there is an isolation that creeps into the marrow of your bones when the lights come up and the party is over.
When an addict completes recovery the resumes his or her place in the world again, it isn’t surprising that the people that once may have been partners in crime may not share the enthusiasm the newly recovered have regarding their new lease on life. Those who reside in that camp maybe feel betrayed that the newly recovered addict has switched sides. Some may try to lure them back into their old using ways thus sabotaging someone’s hard fought sobriety. Either way, those attitudes can spell danger for those committed to a life of recovery yet are still feeling their footing.
There are a multitude of reasons why people may inadvertently or intentionally sabotage those in recovery. One reason is that addiction may have driven away someone’s true and genuine friends. Another reason is that people may not understand what addiction truly entails for those suffering in its grip and end up alienating or enabling the recovering person. Sobriety may mean an end to a friendship because it may hold up a mirror to behaviors that others may not want to see.
The signs of sabotage can be either explicit or subtle. People may flat out state that recovery will never work and that relapse is a given. Some people may say those who are newly recovered never had a drug problem. There also may be some who openly use drugs in front of someone in recovery or try to find ways to bully or coerce someone into using drugs. Others tactics may include holding grudges or resentments, using past behavior as leverage, spreading rumors or making hurtful comments that play on one’s doubt.
What are some ways those in recovery can steer clear of the toxic behaviors of those “haters”? One of the most crucial steps, especially early on in the recovery process is to cut ties with those who are negative. This can be a very hard step to take because some of those “using” friends may have been emotional or financial support. In other instances there could have been romantic undertones involved and in other cases there could have been abuse.
Parting ways with those old networks can feel brutal because there have been new coping systems put into place and the old ways simply don’t mesh. On the other hand, a possibility exists that the newly recovered individual may try to re-establish those relationships that were genuine to its core. This can also be a tricky proposition since trust was violated previously and even after time passes the wounds may be too fresh or deep.
By extension, it is important to make new friends and establish positive and healthy bonds. Those friendship entail people who truly care and support healthy behaviors and attitudes while confronting and challenging addictive thoughts and behaviors. These people can include those met in twelve-step or other support groups or those who are met during sober activities and provide motivation for those in recovery to continue on that path.